Winnebago Co. RIC changes lives - – Rockford’s News Leader

Winnebago Co. RIC changes lives


Rockford has seen an increase things like aggravated batteries, home invasion and gun crimes all year. But there's is a place working to stop people from turning into career criminals. The Winnebago County Resource Intervention Center (RIC) is designed to cut down on jail time and save the county money.  It goes after some of the root causes of crime like substance abuse and lack of education.

"I mean I knew subtraction and adding and stuff like that but when it came to multiplication and dealing with the bigger numbers and how to carry another number over and borrow from another number you know, it was confusing," says Larenzo Kinard.

He came to the RIC on probation for a drug charge.  He was reading at a 5th grade level. Kinard only finished 8th grade.  RIC is designed to help people like Kinard not only get out of the system, but keep them from recommitting crimes. That's a problem in Rockford.  In February, Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson told us, every week three to nine parolees re-offend.  The State of Illinois puts the overall number at 66 percent. 

"It was developed to be a one stop shop for people, adults on probation supervision to get court ordered counciling services all in one location," says Delayne Hogan, RIC deputy director.

In the four years RIC has been opened, its served more than 1500 people.   On average reducing the number of jail days by 84 per person. That's saved the county $8.5 million at a cost of $1.2 million.  

"I think when they come to us they are initially resistant about being in the system and having to come here and get counseling and get help.  But I think once accept and take some responsibility for why they are in the system they find this is a safe place for them to be and they can get help," says Hogan.

Kinard says it changed his life.

"I'm 32 years old and  like I say, no matter how old I get if I don't have my GED in the time span that I'm suppose to have it.  I'm not going to stop coming.  I'm going to keep on coming until I get it," say Kinard.

He plans to get his GED and then go to Rock Valley College to study engineering.  He's found he actually likes math.

The RIC programs are mainly funded through the one percent sales tax. They include Rosecrance and Remedies counseling services for substance, domestic and sexual abuse. There are also GED classes mainly taught through Rock Valley College and job training skills programs.

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